Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles is expecting a vote from the company’s board on a potential 2014 road race for the IZOD IndyCar Series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway before the end of the month, according to Michael Marot of The Associated Press.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal and Panther Racing’s Ryan Briscoe tested earlier this month on various configurations of IMS’ 2.6-mile road course in order to provide series and Speedway officials with feedback on how to raise its on-track product.
Miles has said that should an IndyCar road race take place, the circuit – originally created for Formula One and now currently hosting the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and MotoGP – would undergo an upgrade.
The 2014 IZOD IndyCar Series calendar has yet to be fully revealed, although the Pirelli World Challenge recently announced that five of its 2014 events will be run in conjunction with the IndyCar contingent: St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Belle Isle/Detroit, Toronto and Mid-Ohio.
The potential addition of an IMS road race to the IndyCar schedule has met with mixed reaction but in his comments to the AP, Miles insisted that his focus remains wholly on the fans – both old and new.
“We care about all of our customers and about bringing in new customers,” Miles said. “This idea is part of a bigger plan to bring more people out here in May.”
Additionally, Miles indicated to the AP that there were “prospects” for title sponsors of the road race. Landing one of those would certainly please both IndyCar and IMS, which is seeking to increase revenue from its road-racing events.
The Red Bull Racing pit crew may have already made headlines last weekend when it completed the fastest pit stop in Formula One history, changing Max Verstappen’s tires in 1.82 seconds, but the team’s most recent stunt took their skills to new heights – quite literally.
With the help of the Russian Space agency Roscomos, a group of the team’s mechanics completed the world’s first zero-gravity pit stop, on-board a IIyushin II-76K cosmonaut training plane.
Using a 2005 BR1, the team filmed the viral video over the course of a week, enduring seven flights and about 80 parabolas – periods in which the plane climbs 45 degrees before falling again at a ballistic arch of 45 degrees, creating a period of weightlessness for approximately 22 seconds.
With such a short time frame between weightlessness periods, the car and equipment had to be both quickly and safely secured before gravity once again took effect. Each filming lasted roughly 15 seconds, and the stunt was the most physically and technically demanding activity the live demo team had ever undertaken.
“It pushed us harder than I thought it would,” said Red Bull Support Team Mechanic Joe Robinson. “You realize how much you rely on gravity when you don’t have any!
“It challenges you to think and operate in a different way – and that was brilliant. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and honestly, I could have stayed and done it all month. It was amazing. I think it’s the coolest, most fun thing the Live Demo team has ever done with a show car.”
Though Red Bull was the first team to perform a pit stop in zero gravity, surprisingly Red Bull was not the first team to put a car through zero gravity. In 1999, McLaren driver David Coulthard and his car experienced zero gravity as part of a promotion for then-sponsor West Cigarettes.
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